REDDING, Calif-- Redding native Ryan O'Callaghan played for the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs during his six year NFL career and two years ago he shared some of his deepest secrets in a book titled, "My Life on the Line."
"After I came out publicly in 2017, I was approached by a literary agent with the idea of writing a book," said O'Callaghan. "I never planned on writing a book, but I saw it as a great opportunity to tell the rest of my story."
It is a story filled with self-hate and the struggle he had finding his identity, all of which led to opioid abuse.
He talked about hiding his sexuality since his days as a standout offensive lineman at Enterprise High School. Despite O'Callaghan's commitment to using sports as a cover for his sexuality, not many LGBTQ athletes share the same fate.
"I think the statistic is over half of LGBTQ people quit playing sports because of their sexuality and I think it's important to let these people know that you don't have to do that," said O'Callaghan.
So, he started a foundation partly funded by his activism.
"I donate all of my profits from the book to the Ryan O'Callaghan Foundation and from there, I give scholarships and support to LGBTQ students and athletes."
Since coming out, O'Callaghan has remained off opioids and hopes that LGBTQ student-athletes can look up to him and avoid going down a similar path.
O'Callaghan will speak at Chico State on October 9 for the Wildcat's Conversations on Diversity and Inclusion Series. It will be in Colusa Hall at noon.